I felt really quite strongly that it was the right thing to do, as voice feminisation surgery has always had a really bad reputation despite some huge advances in the field over the past couple of years. Having VFS has changed my life and given me so much more confidence, and I only found out about the new procedure by randomly stumbling over a couple of incredible before/after videos on YouTube.
I booked the surgery and trip to Korea a week after seeing them. Since sharing my post op voice videos, I’ve had so many lovely messages from girls that have said they only found out about the surgery because of me, and that it had also changed their lives. That’s why I decided to share them, and I’m very glad that I did. :)
Monika: Being beautiful always produces a lot of girl power and empowerment. Do you often use it?
Yes GRS is an important step mentally to take for most of us, it helps you feel a LOT more congruent with yourself, but it doesn’t really help you pass or integrate as your true self. I mean… who walks down the road with their vagina out to reinforce people’s perception of their gender?
FFS and breast augmentation is an absolute must for most of us to pass… I really hope it’s offered on the NHS one day, there’s not a hope in hell that hormones would have been enough for me! Even privately the gaps between consultations were too long, the wait for surgery was too long and the recovery from surgery takes too long! Once I decided to transition I pushed and pushed to get through the physical stuff as quickly as I possibly could.
|Courtesy of Olivia Sessions.|
Transition can quite often be pretty all consuming for someone going through it, it’s kind of like being a new mother in some ways, you can become so focused and one dimensional that all you have to talk about is the single subject of transition, and you let a lot of your interests and things that made you you slide…
It’s really tough to let go of, I guess in some ways it’s a comfort thing, that makes you feel interesting and a bit special. Moving on is hard, but I think important that you realise when it’s time to do so, and you reengage with all the things that made you happy before, stop being trans and start living as the woman you are.
When I started dressing female, I had to be hideously drunk before I had the courage to go out, this took a long time to get over… It took a fair amount of surgery to get myself to the point that I was comfortable wandering around in public. Some of the trans girls that for medical, financial or situational reasons cannot start HRT or undergo surgery, but are still true to themselves and don’t give a fuck what other people think are true heroes in my mind… Not that that’s any excuse for stubble, blue eye shadow, bright red lips and a tight mini when popping down to the shops first thing in the morning for a pint of milk!
Over the next week or so, I struggled to keep myself from ending it all, it got very very close. I just couldn’t tell anyone for fear of losing everything, but mainly my wife, who I’ve been with since I was 16, I’ve always loved her more than life itself. In the end, it was my best friend at work that saved me… I had gotten to the point where I could barely function in the office, and people had certainly noticed.
Things got better over time, but it caused a rift that I’m not sure will ever be healed. That aside, me and my wife became closer and closer, a lot more so than we ever had been before, it was like a massive wall that we didn’t even realise was between us, slowly dissolved. On the whole though, I think I’ve been truly blessed with the amount of support and love I’ve been shown! :)
Monika: Transgender ladies are subject to the terrible test whether they pass as a woman or they do not. You are a lovely lady yourself but what advice you would give to ladies with the fear of not passing as a woman?
It’s an unfortunate truth that most girls after a certain age need an amount of surgery (FFS/VFS/GRS/BA/LHR etc..) to pass. The sad thing is though… that even after you’ve gone through all of this, and to the rest of the world you pass, dysphoria can convince you that you don’t. It’s so important to work on the inside as well as the outside… it took a long time for me to realise that surgery couldn’t fix everything. I think a lot of us wait for something magical to happen and click in our brain that says, now you’re a woman… of course this never happens because you are and have always been a woman… Getting to grips with that is a journey in itself!
|Courtesy of Olivia Sessions.|
Monika: Are you active in politics? Do you participate in any lobbying campaigns? Do you think transgender women can make a difference in politics?
Monika: Many transgender ladies write their memoirs. Have you ever thought about writing such a book yourself?
All the photos: courtesy of Olivia Sessions.